Wyoming Senator John Barrasso will take on a new leadership role in the next Congress, as chair of the Environment and Public Works committee.
The committee has oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency, among other things.
Barrasso’s office declined to outline what his priorities will be as chair, but he has been a strong critic of Obama administration environmental regulations and he could use his gavel to focus on repealing those regulations.
He takes over the position from Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, also a fierce critic of the Obama administration, who focused his attention on climate change regulations. Neither Inhofe nor Barrasso accept the scientific consensus on climate change.
With Barrasso’s new role, coal-state legislators now hold a number of the most powerful positions in the Senate. Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi will continue to be the chair of the Budget Committee and Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, will continue to be Majority Leader.